US Attorney General questioned on Russia ties

Sessions recommended the firing last month, raising questions about whether he violated his recusal from the investigation into Trump campaign ties to Russian Federation.

"I know nothing but what I have read in the paper", Sessions said.

Blunt and plainspoken, Sessions, 70, went from a GOP foot soldier to prosecutor to politician and ultimately one of President Donald Trump's leading champions, sharing his hardline views on national security and immigration. Sessions added that, "to suggest that a recusal from a single specific investigation" would render him unable to manage the leadership of the FBI would be "absurd".

Earlier, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., asked Sessions why, after recusing himself from the Russian Federation inquiry, he signed a letter last month recommending that President Trump fire Comey. Comey told the intelligence committee in a closed session that Sessions may have had a third, undisclosed interaction with Russia's ambassador to the United States, according to people familiar with the briefing.

"I believe the American people have had it with stonewalling", Wyden said.

Sessions told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the day after that meeting, Comey expressed "concern" to him about being left alone with the president, but that Comey did not reveal any details of the meeting. He also had prior conversations with Comey, who testified last week that, following a February 14 meeting with Trump, he told Sessions that he never again wanted to be left alone with the president.

"Well, some of that leaked out of the committee that he said in closed session", Sessions said.

The protections Sessions is talking about, in place since 2014, are known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, and they were recently extended in an appropriations act, as Consumerist noted, meaning the Department of Justice cannot allocate funds to the prosecution of medical marijuana possession, cultivation, or sale until at least September 30.

Testifying at a Senate hearing, Sessions said it was a "detestable and appalling lie" to suggest that he participated in or was aware of any collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

The high stakes of Tuesday's hearing prompted speculation that Sessions would protect his private conversations with Trump by declaring executive privilege.

Senate Democrats have raised the possibility that Mr Sessions and Mr Kislyak could have met there, though Justice Department officials say there were no private encounters or side meetings. On the date of my formal recusal, my Chief of Staff sent an email to the heads of the relevant departments, including by name to Director Comey of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to instruct them to inform their staffs of this recusal and to advise them not to brief me or involve me in any such matters. He said he did not have any meetings at the event and did not recall any "brief interaction" he may have had with the Russian ambassador in passing at reception at the Mayflower.

Senator Richard Burr (R, North Carolina) chair of the committee framed the hearing as giving Sessions an opportunity to "separate fact from fiction". Ron Wyden (D-OR), decrying "secret innuendo" from Comey and other critics.

Schumer said the result will send a "powerful and bipartisan statement to Russian Federation and any other country who might try to interfere in our elections that they will be punished, and that Congress will stand firm in making sure they are punished, Democrat and Republican".

"Why don't you tell me?"

Sessions appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee just five days after James Comey, whom Trump fired as FBI director on May 9, told the panel Trump ousted him to undermine the agency's investigation of the Russian Federation matter. Trump could recommend to the Justice Department that the special counsel be fired. She said such a move would "destroy any shred of trust in the president's judgment that remains over here". Rosenstein said he hadn't.

Sessions recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation weeks later. In a speech about violent crime in Richmond, Virginia, this past March, Sessions called cannabis use a "life-wrecking dependency" and said that it will "destroy your life".

Rosenstein offered his assurances as USA news accounts quoted Republican allies of Trump suggesting that the president is considering firing Mueller, whose appointment, when it was announced, drew widespread praise from both Republicans and opposition Democrats.

House Speaker Paul Ryan suggested Tuesday that questions about Mueller were sparked by a "rumor that's not happening" and causing a "debate that is not occurring". If there were good cause, I would consider it.

Are you willing to talk to special counsel Robert Mueller?

As a longtime senator from Alabama, Sessions will be granted some degree of deference, at least from Republicans.

Under questioning from Sen.

Senator Angus King, an independent, questioned Sessions' legal basis for refusing to answer.

If questions arise about what matters Sessions should stay away from, he said, a career official in Rosenstein's office is consulted.

But his testimony will be a dramatic sequel to the fired FBI chief's tour de force that twisted a knife in President Donald Trump's administration over the Russian Federation investigation and still has Washington buzzing. And they didn't agree to come and then cancel at the last minute and send their second in command in their stead, because the members of this committee may have questions they may not want to answer.

"As far as I'm concerned, yes", Rosenstein replied. And since Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the investigation, Rosenstein is acting in that capacity. I am happy to share with the committee my recollection of the conversation I had with Mr. Comey. The White House has denied any collusion with Moscow.

Newsmax CEO and Trump friend Chris Ruddy rang the alarms Monday, saying that Trump was seriously considering firing Robert Mueller, who is leading the federal Russian Federation probe.

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